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The ECA Main Building pictured at sunset on an autumn evening. Edinburgh Castle is in the background. Image: Federica Mentasti

PhD by Distance



3 years (Full time); 6 years (Part time)
Full-time; Part-time


All PhD programmes at ECA have the PhD by Distance option, with full-time or part-time study.   

The programmes are: 

How you will study

The PhD by Distance mode is available to all applicants for eligible ECA PhD programmes, who will apply via the Postgraduate Degree Finder. Applicants will select between on-campus and distance options, as well as between part-time and full-time options. 

Students enrolled on the PhD by Distance mode will not be expected to come to Edinburgh to study but visits for particular activities (tutorials, annual reviews, research training courses, workshops, etc) can be considered on a case-by-case basis and within UKVI visa regulations. 

It is however expected that PhD by Distance students will come to Edinburgh for their oral (viva voce) examination, although options for online vivas may be considered on a case-by-case basis. For practice-based students, how practical work will be shared with supervisors will be explored in detail at the point of application by both subject area PGR Director and potential supervisor(s); in-person presentation of work (such as a musical performance) may occasionally be necessary. Access to studios and workshops for PhD by Distance students will be limited, as these require to be prioritised for on-campus students. 

PhD by Distance students will receive the same level of support and supervision as on-campus students but with supervisory sessions taking place via Teams, Zoom, or another video conferencing platform, rather than on-campus and in-person. The frequency with which students will meet with their supervisors will be provisionally agreed at the point of application and confirmed during induction. Supervisors (and examiners) will not make site visits to PhD by Distance students.  

There are no mandatory courses for ECA PhD students. A range of generic and specific research methods and skills training courses are available online from university.  

PhD by Distance students will have access to all University of Edinburgh support services and will be able to access online library resources/support and home use software through University site licenses in the same way that all students can. 

Please be aware that some scholarships and funding are not open to PhD by Distance applicants, for example AHRC regulations currently state that students must live within a reasonable distance from their University so are only eligible for applicants to on-campus PhD programmes.

How to apply and entry requirements

If you'd like to study on a postgraduate research programme at Edinburgh College of Art, you must apply through EUCLID, our online application system. You can find out how to do this on the University of Edinburgh website, where you'll also be able to: 

  • see detailed entrance requirements for each programme on the Degree Finder  
  • get information on what to expect after you apply  
  • find out about study modes, start dates and fees  
  • find out if, and how, you need to submit a portfolio, showreel or research proposal  
  • find out where to go for further advice and guidance 

Application process

Before you apply  

Students are assigned two research supervisors, the second of which may be from another discipline within ECA, or from somewhere else within the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (CAHSS) or wider University. 

Please ensure that at least one member of staff (see below) maintains an active research programme that aligns with the themes of your proposed project.  

Prospective students are strongly encouraged to make contact with the relevant member(s) of staff via email to explain your research interests prior to submitting an application. Please note that we only accept applications and review application materials submitted through the official EUCLID application portal.

After you apply 

Once your application has been submitted for consideration, it will be sent to a team of academic reviewers for their attention. They will then make a decision about your application and research topic, and decide whether it is possible to make an offer of a place to study with us. You may be asked to attend a brief online interview but if this is the case, you will be notified in advance. 

Apply through the Postgraduate Degree Finder on the University of Edinburgh website

Complete the distance learning application form (Word document download)

Get in touch

Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions
+44 (0)131 651 5740

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